Glug, glug, glug: sound familiar? Good! Drinking water is key for keeping your body operating in peak form and, if you’re breastfeeding, maintaining your milk supply. “If you need to shed post-pregnancy pounds, water can help, especially because it makes you feel full and less likely to overeat,” adds Colleen Lammel-Harmon, R.D., a nutritionist and executive director of the Mayor’s Fitness Council in Chicago, Illinois. Your goal: Down about eight glasses a day, more if you’re nursing. Some simple strategies:
1. Start your day off right. “I pour myself a glass of water when I wake up in the morning, and then I’m in the mindset to keep drinking water all day long,” says Kelly Emley, a Massillon, Ohio mom of three.
2. Put water, water everywhere. Leave a glass or pitcher of it in the spots where you hang out the most—by the bed, the couch, or the rocking chair where you nurse.
3. Make it fancy. Dress up water with apple or orange slices or berries. Use a spiffy glass and you’ll feel like you’re drinking a fruity cocktail (well, almost).
4. Don’t leave home without it. “I fill a couple of reusable bottles with water or seltzer in the morning, then I toss one bottle under the stroller and one in the car,” says Maritza Archila, a mom of three in Kenosha, Wisconsin. “I even bought an inexpensive soda machine that carbonates regular water. It takes seconds, and I love the taste.”
5. Down other liquids, too. Skim milk, coffee and tea do, although research shows that downing 500 to 600 mg of caffeine a day (about four cups of coffee) can have a diuretic effect. “I like to make homemade decaf iced green and fruit teas year round—they’re a great pick-me-up,” says Joanna Kluch, a mom of one in Springfield, Missouri. Fruit juice and juice drinks also hydrate you (just don’t overdo the sugar).
6. Eat water-filled foods. “Fruits and vegetables are especially high in water content,” notes Lammel-Harmon. She likes to snack on frozen grapes and makes breakfast smoothies with fruit, skim milk, yogurt, and ice. Mmm, mmm good—and good for you.